Heinrich Snow

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Heinrich Schnee as governor ret. D.
Heinrich Schnee as Heidelberger Rhenane

Heinrich Albert Schnee (born February 4, 1871 in Neuhaldensleben ; † June 23, 1949 in Berlin ) was a German lawyer, colonial official, politician, writer and association official.


Schnee was born in Neuhaldensleben as the son of the district judge Hermann Schnee (1829–1901) and his wife Emilie, b. Disk (* 1840) born. He attended high school in Nordhausen am Harz and studied law in Heidelberg (member of the Corps Rhenania Heidelberg ), Kiel and Berlin (Dr. jur., 1893). In 1897 he got a job in the Foreign Office , in 1898 he became judge and deputy governor in German New Guinea . In 1900 he was transferred to Samoa as District Administrator and Deputy Governor . After 1904 he was back in Germany as a legation counselor in the colonial department of the Foreign Office.

In 1905 he became a colonial adviser to the embassy in London , 1906 lecturer, 1907 conductor and from 1911 ministerial director and head of the political and administrative department in the Reichskolonialamt Berlin.

Schnee as governor of German East Africa

From 1912 to 1919 he was the last governor of German East Africa . His term of office was shaped by the First World War . After initially respecting the Congo Act , Great Britain began an invasion of German East Africa. The occupation failed in 1914 because of the protection force for German East Africa under Lieutenant Colonel Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck , who from now on engaged in a kind of guerrilla war in East Africa until the end of the war , which also devastated neighboring colonies, against a large overwhelming majority of British, South African, Indian and Portuguese and Belgian troops could claim. In accordance with the Compiègne armistice , the Schutztruppe laid down their weapons on November 25th, 1918, were interned and transported to Germany from January 1919. The transfer of the militarily undefeated protection force back home was one of the few concessions made by the victors in the ceasefire agreement. Celebrated as heroes, Lettow-Vorbeck and Schnee marched through the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin at the head of their troops on March 2, 1919 .

Political activity

After the First World War , Schnee became a member of the Reichstag for the German People's Party , from which he left in 1932. At the end of 1932 he was temporarily traded in the German press as a possible Reich Chancellor. From 1933 to 1945 he was a member of the NSDAP and was again appointed by Hitler as a member of the Reichstag .

Snow was also internationally regarded as a leading representative of German colonial interests and was repeatedly invited to lecture events in the United States and other European countries. In 1932, his reputation led to his appointment to the Manchurian Commission of the League of Nations (so-called Lytton Commission ), which negotiated with the two powers in view of the military conflict between China and Japan over influence in Manchuria and reported to the League of Nations.

Snow as an association official

In 1926, Schnee became President of the Association of Germans Abroad (BdA). After Schnees' dismissal in May 1933 and the transition of large parts to the foreign organization of the NSDAP in the course of the " seizure of power ", the BdA lost all meaning. In May 1933, Schnee took over the chairmanship of the hastily formed successor organization to the German League for the League of Nations , the German Society for League of Nations , whose activities for the Hitler government came to a standstill after Germany left the League of Nations in October 1933. However, occupied with international law studies, it continued to exist as the German Society for International Law and World Politics until 1945.

Grave of Heinrich Schnee in the Heerstrasse cemetery in Berlin-Westend

From 1930 to 1936, Schnee was the last president of the German Colonial Society (DKG), which then became part of the Reichskolonialbund (RKB). From 1933 to 1945, Schnee was President of the German World Economic Society , a subsidiary of the BdA. Initially classified as polluted by the Allies because of his NSDAP mandate in the Reichstag, Schnee could no longer take up his work after the Second World War.

Heinrich Schnee died on June 23, 1949 at the age of 78 in a car accident in Berlin. His grave is in the state-owned cemetery Heerstraße in Berlin-Westend (grave location: I-Wald-14).

Historical classification

Heinrich Schnee is considered to be one of the prominent figures in German historical revisionism , who refused to admit the results of the First World War . Snow was particularly interested in the recovery of the lost colonies. By publishing books and essays, as a politician, association official and lecturer, he tried to give the “colonial question” a national meaning and to promote the recovery of the former colonial areas. When the colonial associations were brought into line in 1936, it became apparent that his influence had died down. Snow was no longer taken into account in the management of the RKB and no longer joined the new association.

Awards and honors


  • Pictures from the South Seas. Among the cannibal tribes of the Bismarck Archipelago . Reimer, Berlin 1904.
  • German East Africa in the World War. How we lived and fought . Quelle and Meyer, Leipzig 1919.
  • German Colonial Lexicon (Ed.). Quelle and Meyer, Leipzig 1920.
  • Does Germany need colonies? Quelle and Meyer, Leipzig 1921.
  • The colonial guilt lie . Sachers and Kuschel, Berlin 1924.
    • English: German Colonization Past and Future. The Truth about the German Colonies , reprinted by Kennikat Press, Port Washington / London 1970.
    • Spanish: La colonización alemana: El pasado y el future.La verdad sobre los colonias alemanes , con un prologo de José Vasconcelos . Munich, Editore Internacional 1929.
    • Italian: La colonizzazione germanica: Il suo passato ed il suo futuro, translated from the English translation of 1926. Santoro, Rome 1932.
    • Italian: La menzonga inglese della colpa colonial . Vallecchi, Florence 1941.
  • Nationalism and imperialism . Reimar Hobbing, Berlin 1928.
  • Ten Years of Versailles (Ed., Together with Hans Draeger), 3 volumes, Brückenverlag, Berlin 1929/30.
  • Peoples and Powers in the Far East. Impressions from a trip with the Manchuria Commission . German Book Community, Berlin 1933.
  • The German colonies before, during and after the World War. Quelle and Meyer, Leipzig 1935.
  • Germany's colonial demand . Wendt, Berlin 1937.
  • Colonial power Germany , German Youth Library No. 679-681. Publisher H. Hilger, Berlin 1940.
  • As the last governor in German East Africa - Memories , ed. by Ada Schnee. Quelle and Meyer, Heidelberg 1964.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ At the end of the war: Robert Gerwarth : The greatest of all revolutions: November 1918 and the dawn of a new era . Siedler, Munich 2018, ISBN 978-3-8275-0036-6 , pp. 170–177.
  2. Manfred Weißbecker : Association of Germans Abroad . In: Dieter Fricke (Hrsg.): Lexicon for the history of parties. The bourgeois and petty bourgeois parties and associations in Germany (1789-1945) , Vol. 1: Pan-German Association - German League for Human Rights . VEB Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig 1983, pp. 202–209.
  3. ^ Günter Höhne: German League for the League of Nations . In: Dieter Fricke (Hrsg.): Lexicon for the history of parties. The bourgeois and petty bourgeois parties and associations in Germany (1789–1945) , Vol. 2: German League for the League of Nations - general association of Christian trade unions in Germany . VEB Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig 1984, pp. 9–16, here p. 15.
  4. ^ Peter Hubert: Uniformed Reichstag. The history of the pseudo-popular representation 1933–1945. Droste, Düsseldorf 1992, ISBN 3-7700-5167-X .
  5. ^ Hans-Jürgen Mende : Lexicon of Berlin burial places . Pharus-Plan, Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-86514-206-1 . P. 494.